Alabama District Court Refuses to Enter MDL 875’s Grant of Summary Judgment to Defendants as Final Judgment U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, January 12, 2016

The plaintiff brought an action in state court alleging defendants manufactured asbestos products, which caused her husband’s asbestosis and ultimate death. The defendants removed to federal court based on diversity, created after the state court severed the worker’s compensation and asbestos claims. The federal case contained only issues of asbestos injury and was transferred to MDL 875 in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.  Four years later, the case returned to the Northern District of Alabama. Rockwell and Eaton then moved to make the MDL’s grant…
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U.S. House of Representatives Passes Bill to Add Fairness in Class Action Litigation and Further Asbestos Claim Transparency

On January 8, 2016, the United States House of Representatives passed a bill titled the “Fairness in Class Action Litigation and Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act of 2016” in an effort to tighten standards for class certification in lawsuits and require asbestos bankruptcy trusts to publicize claimants’ details. Essentially, this bill requires that any party seeking to assert a class action affirmatively demonstrate that each proposed class member suffered the same type and scope of injury as the named class representative(s).  Additionally, the bill requires…
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In Case Where Steamfitter Worked on its Premises, Owner Denied Summary Judgment Based on the Wisconsin Safe Place to Work Statute U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, January 7, 2016

In yet another follow-up decision in the Ahnert case out of Wisconsin federal court, Pabst Brewing Company moved for summary judgment. As previously reported, Foster Wheeler was granted summary judgment, but insulation contractor, Sprinkmann Sons Corp. was denied summary judgment based on the Wisconsin statute of repose. The decedent was a union Steamfitter from 1955 to 1992 and claimed exposure to asbestos while working on Pabst’s premises. In its motion, Pabst argued that there was no evidence that decedent was exposed to asbestos from…
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Prior Release Found Inadequate to Dismiss Future Jones Act/FELA Claims Based on Development of Mesothelioma Supreme Court of New York, New York County, January 4, 2016

In this NYCAL case, the Maritime Asbestos Legal Clinic originally filed a suit in 1997 on behalf of the decedent, Mason South, in the Northern District of Ohio. The decedent served in the Merchant Marines from 1945 to 1982. Less than two months later the case settled, with Texaco Inc. being one of the settled defendants. In 2014, the decedent was diagnosed with and died from complications related to mesothelioma. In 2015, the decedent’s wife commenced another action under the Jones Act arising from her…
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Work Performed by Insulation Contractor was Maintenance, Not Improvement, to Real Property; Wisconsin Statue of Repose Did Not Bar Asbestos Claims U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, January 6, 2016

In a follow-up decision from yesterday’s report regarding the summary judgment granted to Foster Wheeler, Sprinkmann Sons Corporation also moved for summary judgment.  The Wisconsin federal court denied this motion. The decedent was a steamfitter; two co-workers testified regarding their work with the decedent at various industrial facilities. They overhauled turbines and tanks, and removed/installed insulation. Sprinkmann was an insulation contractor for at least two of these facilities and moved for summary judgment based on: (1) no evidence Decedent was exposed to Sprinkmann asbestos-containing products;…
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Valve Manufacturer Granted Summary Judgment under Maritime Law Based on Lack of Causation U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, January 5, 2016

In this federal court action, it is alleged that the decedent, Richard Bell, was exposed to asbestos during his service in the Navy where he served on the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1961 to 1962. Velan Valve Corp. moved for summary judgment asserting maritime law. The plaintiff did not oppose the application of maritime law. The court went on to analyze the application of maritime law and found it applied in the case. The court then went on to grant Velan summary judgment, stating…
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Previously Dismissed Federal Maritime Case Against Ship Owners on Personal Jurisdiction Grounds Subsequently Dismissed in NYCAL; Court Finds There Was No Tolling of Statute of Limitations Supreme Court of New York, New York County, December 10, 2015

In this NYCAL decision, it was alleged that the decedent, Eugene Quinlan, was exposed to asbestos and developed lung cancer from his work as a career merchant mariner. The case was originally filed in 1997 in the Northern District of Ohio for a non-malignant asbestos disease. The decedent subsequently developed lung cancer and the case was assigned to the MultiDistrict Litigation (MDL), which included the Maritime Docket cases (MARDOC), and laid dormant for seventeen years. In 2014, the case was assigned to the Eastern District…
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Wisconsin Federal Court Applies Statue of Repose in Granting Summary Judgment to Foster Wheeler after Multiple Lawsuits Filed by Same Plaintiff U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, January 5, 2016

The plaintiff was a steamfitter who filed a lawsuit against Foster Wheeler and others due to asbestosis developed after alleged  asbestos exposure. After this case was transferred to MDL 875, the plaintiff was diagnosed with mesothelioma and filed a second suit, again naming Foster Wheeler. After the plaintiff died, his wife dismissed the second lawsuit; three years later she sought to amend the MDL case to include the mesothelioma diagnosis, which the MDL denied due to time. Meanwhile, the plaintiff filed a third lawsuit in…
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Court Lacks Specific Jurisdiction Where Complaint is Devoid of Allegations that Injury Arose Out of Defendants’ Contacts with State U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, January 6, 2016

The plaintiffs’ complaint alleged that John Clark was exposed to asbestos from the defendants’ products while serving in the U.S. Air Force and during his employment at McDonald Douglas and Boeing. Multiple defendants made motions to dismiss, arguing that the District Court lacked jurisdiction over them. The plaintiffs failed to file timely responses to any of the motions and the court used it is discretion to construe the plaintiffs’ failure to do so as an admission of the merits of the motion. In granting the…
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Decedent’s Incomplete Testimony Found Sufficient to Overcome Summary Judgment as Pump Manufacturer Should Have Re-noticed His Deposition to Question Him Prior to His Death Supreme Court of New York, New York County, December 14, 2015

In this NYCAL case, it is alleged that the decedent, Warren Taveniere, was exposed to asbestos while working aboard several vessels as a Merchant Marine for Moore McCormack Lines from 1953 to 1955. The plaintiff’s interrogatory responses included Aurora Pump Company and at his deposition, the decedent testified that he used asbestos-containing gaskets and packing on Aurora pumps. After four hours the deposition was adjourned due to the decedent’s failing health and Aurora’s counsel had not yet had the opportunity to question him. The decedent’s…
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